Match Analysis: Bayer Leverkusen 0-5 Manchester United

Man United's Antonio Valencia is congratulated by teammates Wayne Rooney after scoring the opening goal against Bayern Leverkusen during their Champions League group match on November 27, 2013
© AFP
Sports Mole takes a closer look at Manchester United's hammering of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

Manchester United powered their way into the second round of the Champions League with a 5-0 hammering away to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

In a first half of few chances, Antonio Valencia finished off a fine counter-attack before an Emir Spahic own goal put them two ahead by the break.

The second half was classic United counter-attacking, with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and then Nani completing the rout in a rampant showing for United.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the game to see whether it was a deserved rout for the Red Devils.

Match statistics:

Leverkusen:
Shots 12
On target 4
Possession 48%
Corners 8
Fouls 15

United:
Shots 19
On target 13
Possession 52%
Corners 5
Fouls 14

Was the result fair?

Absolutely. United produced far and away their best performance under David Moyes and although the possession was close they visitors were absolutely scintillating on the counter-attack. It was close until the first went in, but from that point the space United created with their movement meant that anything but a thumping win would have been unjust.

Leverkusen's performance

Miles away from what has become expected of them from their Bundesliga showings so far. They are usually balanced all over the park, but were shaky at the back, outthought in midfield and completely outmuscled in attack. David de Gea's first meaningful save came with just a minute left on the clock, which sums up just how little he had to do in the game.

United's performance

At times the Red Devils were breathtaking. For much of the game it could well have still been Sir Alex Ferguson in charge, as United were incredibly efficient in attack. Moyes chose Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs in midfield and his decision was justified by the latter's sublime performance. Wayne Rooney revelled in the lone striker role and the midfield support ensured that the player on the ball always had options.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Wayne Rooney: With an honourable mention to Giggs, Rooney's performance directly influenced the way United were able to play. Although he did not get on the scoresheet himself, he assisted three goals, some from set pieces and others by being the focal point of the attack. He was absolutely everywhere and came off to a well-deserved ovation from the away fans.

Biggest gaffe

Leverkusen were full of small errors throughout the game, but there were very few major ones throughout the 90 minutes. Of all the mistakes that should have been punished, Spahic's suicidal pass was it. He gave it straight to Nani at 2-0, but the winger was unable to capitalise with his shot just going wide.

Referee performance

Svein Oddvar Moen did not have many big decisions to make today, but what he did have to do he dealt with very well. In fact, he made himself a chameleon and blended into the action, which is just what is wanted from a referee. There were quite a few fouls throughout, but Moen did not go to his pocket unnecessarily and gave a very good account of himself.

What next?

Leverkusen: The hosts are back in Bundesliga action on Saturday with a home clash against Nuremberg. They will be looking to get over their Champions League disappointment with a win that would keep them second in the table.

United: The visitors will look to make it 12 unbeaten in all competitions when they take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday. They have a seven-point deficit to Arsenal, who are top, and need to keep their run going if they are to catch the Gunners.

Man United's Antonio Valencia is congratulated by teammates Wayne Rooney after scoring the opening goal against Bayern Leverkusen during their Champions League group match on November 27, 2013
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